Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - the final analysis

Another year almost done.

This year I took it upon myself to list everything I bought at charity shops, car boot sales and second hand shops. (But not ebay, specialist record shops, or record fairs – where, of course, I spend all the more serious money!).   

In the final analysis I would appear to have bought 137 pieces of vinyl (plus 168 singles I bought in one hit at a boot sale). The total outlay on all these was £110.55 and I have since sold a handful for a total return of £49.38 (I have a breakdown of purchase venues and condition of records too – after alI, I am male, and lists is what I do!). So £60 is not a bad outlay for the thrill of the chase and the pile of vinyl that has been acquired.

Here at Feel It over the course of the year I have recounted some of my digging stories, and shared some of the music found. To round off the year, and feed my withdrawal symptoms now we are in the car boot sale close season, here is one more tale. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this one before, apologies if I have.

If you are a regular around here you will know that I am a fan of Judy White, a lady blessed with as soulful a voice as you could wish for. I’ve written about her before and Judy herself wrote a comment on one of my posts! Judy released a handful of singles in the late Sixties. I only have a couple of her singles (the best though, I think) but I am always on the look out for others. Previous research on Judy led me to her father, Josh White. It’s fair to say that, although Josh was better known than Judy, neither were ever anything approaching household names, especially here in the UK.The Judy White connection led to me to pick up a couple of her father’s albums along the way out of curiosity. For the most part I’ve found his work a bit too folksy for my liking, but nevertheless it seems I still end up buying a Josh White record if I see one. 

So it was one day last July at a boot fair I bought another one of Josh’s albums – an early Sixties compilation. Then about 20 minutes later, on another stall at the same fair, what did I find? A single featuring Judy! None of her singles were ever released in the UK and it’s the first time I have ever found one of her singles “in the wild”. It didn’t look in good shape and I probably would have passed on it if I hadn’t known it featured Judy White.

The Rudy of “Rudy and Judy” credited on this single is in fact Rudolph Isley, a singer I also hold in high regard. It can’t be said that either side of this single are strong songs, and as good a singer as Rudolph Isley is it’s when Judy White joins in that the tracks are lifted above the mediocre.       

So a family affair of a story, and a major coincidence that will stick in my memory.

After all that I’m not going to post the Rudy & Judy single for two reasons: 1) it’s a bit too scratchy and 2) I fear a takedown as somebody had put it on YouTube but it has since been removed.      

Instead listen to this:

Happy New Year to you.

PS: I’m off to celebrate my birthday , and passing 200,000 hits on this blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

RIP Lady T

I’ve just caught up with some sad news - Teena Marie has died. She was only 54 years old.      

Mary (her real name) had a truly special and supremely soulful voice. It seems whatever song she was singing, happy or sad, she had the ability to move me to tears.

I had a Teena Marie evening on YouTube only last week, and now she is no longer with us. I can’t quite believe it.

RIP Lady T.

Friday, December 24, 2010

... let's pull another one

Let's pull another cracker together.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Benny Latimore - Let's Move And Groove Together  1968 ( I think) 

Buy The Early Years

Thursday, December 23, 2010


A couple of days ago I was tempted to open our box of Christmas crackers and pull them all. I needed a very small screwdriver to adjust a very small screw. The sort of screwdriver that you sometimes get in a Christmas cracker – occasionally, if you are lucky, as part of a whole set of screwdrivers enclosed in their very own little case. I knew there were at least two of these cracker screwdriver sets around the house somewhere from previous cracker pulling festivities, but of course, when I needed one, they were nowhere to be found. No doubt buried at the bottom of one those drawers full of junk (yes you have one, everyone has at least one) that you open and close again immediately thinking “one day I must really tidy that up”. So it crossed my mind about raiding this year’s crackers but in the end I resisted the temptation as my life wouldn’t have been worth living come Christmas Day around the dinner table. (In the end I was very impressed that my mother-in-law knew immediately where to lay her hands on one when I mentioned my plight – her ancient sewing machine came up trumps as it had a screwdriver of just the right size hiding in its toolkit).

That little episode got me thinking about Christmas crackers.

The Christmas cracker: entirely dependable but unpredictable at the same time. The dependability comes from the content – a paper hat, a silly joke... and a naff novelty item, which also offers the degree of unpredictability.

So here is Feel It’s version of a Christmas cracker. I dipped my hand into a box of records – a box of soul/funk records, so there’s the dependability - and pulled one at random, so there’s the unpredictability.

Nothing naff about it though, I hope you will agree, and the title fits too!

Juanita Williams – You Knew What You Were Gettin’ 1965

Juanita Williams – Some Things You Never Get Used To 1965

Available on Girls Of Golden World.

Friday, December 17, 2010

More Chicago magic

Another great Windy City record. This should have been a massive hit.

Marvin Smith signed to Brunswick with the intention of being a solo artist but went into the recording studio with The Artistics who he had already been knocking around with. An initial recording session produced “I’m Gonna Miss You” released on The Artistics, “Time Stopped” and ”Have More Time” and the record featured here, released as Marvin Smith but with The Artistics also on the tracks. You can hunt down the other tracks mentioned on YouTube and realise what a recording session that was!   

Marvin Smith – Fading Memories 1967

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Holidays have come early

Derek’s Daily 45 has just featured a single by The Holidays on the strikingly colourful Revilot label. Revilot is one of my favourite label designs, and The Holidays are a great example of the Detroit sound.

So in an attempt to fill up your blogrolls with pictures of that great Revilot label here’s another one from The Holidays. This 45 was released only about 9 months after the one featured by Derek.

This is another 45 I took as commission for selling some of a work colleague’s records recently. The label on this 45 is absolutely pristine (as is the vinyl)  and it’s difficult to believe the record is 43 years old.  

You can read much more about The Holidays here.

The Holidays – I Know She Cares (mp3) 1967

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Keeping warm

Hey, we’re not used to all this snow in UK, especially in November. Haven’t got much dahn souf yet if truth be told, but it sure is cold! The cold is getting to everything it seems.The internet connection has been a bit flaky tonight (again). More worrying though is the turntable which is once again dropping a channel now and then – dodgy cartridge connections I think. I think it may have to go to the repair man soon. Oh no! Can I live without vinyl? (Well, I can always look at it, and caress it, I suppose).  
I dug Barrabas’ 1974 album out of my collection earlier this year (or was it last year) and copied it onto CD. It’s been getting a lot of plays in the car recently. I remember having a soft spot for it back in the 70s but it had been tucked away unplayed for years. I’ve decided it’s something of a forgotten classic, and it certainly kept me warm on the trip into work today (I wimped out and left the bike in the shed).

The front cover of this album gives The Dramatics "Dramatically Yours" a run for its money in the grotesque and disturbing stakes, so I thought I would show the back cover instead which, incidentally, shows that The Waters provided the  beautiful background vocals on this album. Barrabas' sound had some similarities with that of Santana's. But whereas Santana always had a foot firmly planted in rock territory, Barrabas had a much funkier and soulful vibe, which was further emphasised by The Waters on this album.        

Barrabas – Funky Baby 1974

Barrabas – Lady Love 1974      

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh my daze!

Thought I better leave you with something to keep you going for the next few days. Mrs Darce and I will be packing our cabin bags tomorrow night in readiness for a long weekend trip to Prague with a couple of friends. Yes, it’s city break time again.

Today’s (not so) little gem is another reminder that you should ALWAYs turn the record over and play the B side. Furthermore, you should ALWAYS play it all the way through.

A couple of years ago (actually, three and a half!) I wrote about a box of records that a work colleague let me borrow to listen to. Recently we agreed that I would sell them for him on ebay, and that is what I am sort of in the middle of doing now. My commission for all the donkey work will be in the form of a few of the records in the box.

Much as I like the A side of this 45 – “What Can I Do” - I had initially decided that this would be one to be sold. Then I turned it over and played the B side. Now it’s a definite keeper!

You can read a whole lot about Clarence Lewis (for that is his real name) over at Sir Shambling, where you can also hear the A side of this record.

Sir Shambling dates this to 1971. Track times on 45s had broken through the three minute barrier by then, but one clocking in at five minutes plus (30 seconds longer than the time quoted on the label) was still a rarity – especially on a soul record.

The first time I borrowed this box of records I’m betting this is one B side I didn’t play, or if I did I, didn’t play it through because it certainly didn’t live in the memory. It starts off with an almost cheesy feel, and there is a touch of Scott Walker about it I think. But stick with it and at about three minutes in it vamps into something quite stunning, and Clarence lets loose and becomes an altogether different and downright soulful singer. I love it.

Note Mr Quezergue's name in the credits - always a sign of quality.

C L Blast – I’m In A Daze  (1971)  

PS: I removed all links and images from a post that was the subject of a recent takedown request and republished only for it to be taken down again. Go figure! I could be skating on thin ice. 

Friday, November 12, 2010


Most of my computer time this last few days has been spent on Ebay. I'm usually obsessing with my buying hat on but this time it's selling that's been taking up all my time.

I'm relatively new to the selling lark I'm selling records of course. My experience so far is that it takes up an inordinate amount of time in preparing the listings - snapping the record, agonising over the correct description of condition, and battling with the ebay editor which appears to have a mind of it's own sometimes.

Once listed I can't stop looking at my items for sale to see if there is any interest. This is particularly true at the moment as I have a handful a rare ones listed. Of course I know that there will be very little action until the last few hours and the snipers will come in at the last minute (hopefully) - but it doesn't stop me looking constantly. Stop it, I say, but I can't.

The listings end over the weekend and the suspense it now starting to get to me, I can't concentrate on anything else. Is it worth it? I ask myself. 


On another topic, after more than 4 and a half years of this blog I have, in the last month, received my first (2) post takedowns. The very official and seemingly detailed emails and information given are completely useless in helping me understand why the takedowns have happened. mp3? image? link? words? So it is I have removed everything but my, surely uncontroversial, words from my recent Freda Payne post, and left an old Candi Staton post permanently in draft.    

This blog could disappear completely at a moment's notice.

Preoccupied, and paranoid!

Fortunately I have a dose of something seriously soulful to sooth my furrowed brow.

The 45 featured dropped through the letterbox a few hours ago (the postman delivered at 4pm today!).

It has no right to sound so loud and clear as it does considering the number of scratches and scuffs it has.

(The US record industry went to hell it seems, especially into the 70s - this 45 dates from around 1967 and is on a tiny label, but the mastering, and the vinyl it was recorded, on were definitely of the highest quality for this record to sound so good in the condition it's in after so many years. I would say the majority of the US 45s I have from the 70s are vastly inferior. Of course technology, in the form of CDs , digital compression and delivery et al have just continued the trend.)

Enjoy this stunning slice of Detroit soul by Don Hart & James Shorter NOW. You never know, it might be gone tomorrow.             

Don Hart & James Shorter - It's In My Mind 1967?

You can find it on this CD.                

PPS: Follow the Dust & Grooves link in my blogroll. For some reason it doesn't refresh when new posts are made. But a new post there is. Frank "Voodoo Funk" Gossner is featured. A great read and you HAVE TO listen to the Mary Afi Usuah track.  

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

And then there were three :(

Our household is feeling sad right now. We had to take one of our cats to the vet last night to be put to sleep.

Hank was a bit of a scraggy stray when she moved in on us seven or so years ago. Bigger than our other cats she was named Hank by our daughter after the baby in Jacqueline Wilson’s “Bed & Breakfast Star” – we had assumed Hank was a he initially). She became a very sweet and loving cat – a true lap cat. We love all our cats, but Hank was a real character.

The house is feeling a bit empty right now. 

RIP Hank.

Thelma Jones - Salty Tears 1976

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here come the girls #3

Both sides of this storming 45 have domestic references and I can guarantee it will get you dancing around the kitchen table.

Georgia Soul has featured this single before (and a great picture of Delia), and you can also get the lowdown on Dee Dee (Delia) here.

Putting two and two together from a post at In Dangerous Rhythm (can't find it now to link to!) I could suggest that it is Freddie Terrell on guitar and it may have been recorded in the Sound Pit in Atlanta.

I paid very little for this record but I have seen it commands a good price on eBay, though my copy differs from pretty much all the scans I have ever seen of this record in that there are numerous small differences in the label detail. Those scans are all of promo releases though, but could this be a second issue or pressing? Then again I always wonder why such an obscure record would justify such a thing?

Who cares. Enjoy!

Dee Dee Gartrell - I Must Be Doing Something Right 1969?

Dee Dee Gartrell - If You Got What It Takes 1969?

PS: You may have noticed the fonts and font sizes on my posts have been a bit variable lately. Truth is Blogger seems to have a mind of its own in this area when I use copy/paste. In the end I chose a standard Blogger font for this one - Georgia - which is certainly appropriate here. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here come the girls #2

Irma Thomas in Muscle Shoals – a potent brew.

Rick Hall’s studio was the hot destination in the late Sixties.But having set up a seemingly perfect marriage Chess only released three singles from the sessions and left the rest in the can. Irma soon moved on. As they say: go figure.

Of the three singles this one was the only one to dent the Billboard charts, reaching #42 R&B in February ’68.

Twenty-odd years after the event Irma’s all too brief Muscle Shoals excursion was finally released on CD by MCA/Chess in 1990. Now here we are another 20 years later and that CD – Something Good: The Muscle Shoals Sessions” is itself very hard to find (at least at a reasonable price). 

It shouldn’t be so hard to hear great music.

Irma Thomas – Good To Me 1968

Irma Thomas – We Got Something Good 1968

Monday, October 18, 2010

Here come the girls #1

Life has been full again this past week with no time to contemplate blog entries.
So it's fortunate that this, and the following two entries, feature records so strong they need little by way of introduction - let the music speak for itself.

I had promised I would feature some more of my purchases from a recent local record fair. So here they are in a little mini-series called “Here Come The Girls” (that gives you a clue).

First up is Linda Jones, who died much too young at only 27.  

Raw emotion...
Linda Jones – Give My Love A Try 1968

And a storming dancer...
Linda Jones – I Can’t Stand It 1968

And, yes, it hadn't struck me before but Teena Marie must be a fan - the vocal similarities here are striking...

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A bluesbird over....

There was a record fair in town last weekend. It’s in a great venue - the new foyer/cafe bit of the good old Bristol Colston Hall. I went to one earlier in the year but from memory didn’t buy anything.

In truth I’m a bit ambivalent about record fairs, especially in the UK. For one thing I like a bargain, and I know they are going to be few and far between at fairs where savvy sellers are manning the stalls. Also I know I will be lucky to find much soul (especially of the 45 variety with the big hole in the middle), although as it’s a fair I sort of expect to find some, so I end up doubly disappointed when I don’t.

So it was I was in two minds whether to go, but Mrs Darce said “you know you want to really and I’ll drive you down and pick you up”! I couldn’t turn that offer down!
As I got out of the car I said I would be anything between 45 minutes and 2 hours (you see – low expectations). It turned out I was 3 hours )and I could have been a lot longer if I had decided to take up residence at the reggae man’s stall).

The first hour did live down to my expectations. Lots of looking with nothing to get the heart racing. It’s funny, if I had been looking at the exact same records at a car boot sale I would have been perfectly happy because there would have been that air of mystery and expectation. But, because I knew the guys selling these records undoubtedly knew what they had, the thrill of the chase was sort of missing.

I was just starting to think about retiring for an early lunch and calling Mrs Darce when I pulled out a Jackie Wilson single – a late 60s UK MCA re-issue of the The Who Who Song in company sleeve and in nice condition. Nothing to shout about but a nice record for a £1 nevertheless. That spurred me on, so I climbed the stairs and decided on a quick spin around all the stalls to see what else there was. Plenty of albums, plenty of rock, a fair smattering of jazz...... and a stall dedicated to 45s including boxes marked “Soul”, "Northern", “Motown/Gordy”, “James Brown/Marva etc”, “R&B”, and “Swamp”, and a portable Numark turntable there to play whatever took your fancy. Now I was excited. And that is where I happily spent the next couple of hours.

There were no dollar bin records on offer - £5 and up predominantly – so I didn’t come away with many records, but the few I bought I am mighty pleased with and intend to feature them all on Feel It in the next few weeks. Had a good chat with the dealer too (but didn’t get his name). He hasn’t got a shop and can’t be doing with the internet or ebay. It seems he only does record fairs and does as many in the US as the UK – he said he would be in Texas in the next couple of weeks, so that is presumably for the Austin Record Convention.

The record I’m featuring today I nearly didn’t buy. The White Cliffs label had immediately caught my interest as I was vaguely aware it was a NOLA label, but I didn’t know that Huey ‘Piano’ Smith had released anything on that label. I played it and it sounded OK but I think the fact that the lyrics were not much more than a shopping list of dances and it was a part 1/part 2 made it not so much of a must have in comparison to the other records I had already pulled out, and there was the small dent in the wallet to think of too. So, whilst deep down my instinct told me I should buy it, I initially decided not to. The dealer then said of the handful of records I was considering buying this was the one I really should buy – and with a slight reduction in price that was enough for me to change my mind.

I think I made the right choice, and I thank the dealer for making my mind up. Now I’ve played it a few times I really love it, it has an irresistible lope, and Part 1, which features Brenda Brandon’s vocals – she really testifies at the end - is different enough to Part 2 where James Rivers gets to blow.

I can find virtually no references to this 45 on internet searches. The track is featured on an old Charly released Huey Smith compilation CD, but the 45 itself doesn’t seem to appear on any sales lists and I think it really is quite rare.

The White Cliffs label was part of Cosimo Matassa’s Dover group of labels, which also included Frisco, Deesu, Nola, Eight-Ball, and Tailgate. Coming from the UK it’s strange to see the names Dover and White Cliffs emanating from New Orleans.

Around the time this 45 was released (1967!) Huey Smith was trying to restart his recording career and had also been performing as The Pitter Pats and also released records as The Hueys and Shindig Smith & The Soulshakers.

I’m betting ana-b will like this one.

and.... Part 2

Friday, October 01, 2010

Now forever linked

My perception is that there aren’t so many new music blogs appearing, especially those featuring vinyl. Maybe everybody is decamping to YouTube where vinyl seems to be flourishing. I’m always finding something fresh and old (that makes sense because it’s new to me).

A case in point is Direct Current’s “When It’s Love”. At least that was what the 45 was billed as. I liked it so much I went out and bought my own copy. But when I put it on the turntable I realised that the audio on YouTube was a completely different record – a new twist on a blind buy! But the Direct Current song is great anyway, so result!

Of course then the hunt was on to find out what the audio on that particular YouTube post actually was. All I had to go on were the lyrics which, as far as I could make them out, I googled. To no avail. Then last week, months after this episode, I was randomly reading a thread on Soul-Source and equally randomly hit the play button on a posted track – and there it was the mystery audio identified!

So it is that these two tracks, for me, will be forever linked by more than just their year of release.

Direct Current – When It’s Love  1979

Hiroshima – Never, Ever  1979

Buy Hiroshima  (worth the click just to read the customer reviews!)   

Friday, September 24, 2010

Obsessing again

I have a ridiculous new obsession: 45cat

This site aims to catalogue every UK released 45, with full credits and label and cover images. Fortunately, as far as this obsession goes, for what is left of my sanity it seems I have at least as many 45s with the big hole as I do the little one.

Nevertheless I have been dipping into the boxes to see what I can add to the party.
This is one I pulled out that, although documented on 45cat, didn’t have a label image. So I have put that right. It also prompted me to play this record again, and what a delicious double header it is.

Tommie Young only briefly graced the soul scene. A handful of singles and a single album were released on the US Soul Power label between 1972 and 1975. 

In the end a number of factors probably conspired to her remaining very much in the Soul underground – Soul Power was a small label short on marketing muscle in the increasingly major label dominated 70s, Disco was dawning, and in reality Tommie’s heart appeared to remain in the church. She soon returned to gospel music.    

Contempo (don’t you just love that Contempo sleeve?) picked up two of her Soul Power 45s for release in the UK and this is my favourite.  

Tommie Young – That’s All A Part Of Loving Him  1973

Tommie Young – She Don’t Have To See You  1973

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not fair

The usual three boot fairs again this weekend, with almost nothing to show for it. It seems as the season slowly winds down so do the records on offer.  

For 30p I am VERY happy with this 45 though.

This was my only purchase today at one of the boot fairs I visited. Ever since I bought this Denise La Salle 45 I have been on the look out for more singles on the UK Westbound label. There weren’t many, and some are relatively easy to find as they were hits for the Detroit Emeralds. This particular release of theirs wasn’t a hit though, as far as I know, and I had never seen a copy before so for 30p it was an easy choice, and it’s in great nick.    
So how come I was glum when I handed over the loose change? Because it is just possible that this record has effectively cost me £60.30, and that is because driving to the boot sale I could have been captured on one of our wonderful country’s speed cameras.

This one was a mobile camera. Picture the stretch of road: a fairly steep downhill with a 40mph limit, near the bottom of the hill the limit changes to 30mph, the road bends slightly to the left and there is a fixed camera about 500 yards into the 30mph limit. So where was the mobile camera van placed? About 200 yards before the fixed camera. And this was at about 7.30am on a Sunday. Now if that isn’t an example of a pure revenue generator then I don’t know what is. I suppose with all the Government cuts just about to kick in we can expect to see a lot more of these mobile cameras. My speed was somewhere between 30 and 40 so it remains to be seen if I actually get a ticket.

Still, I should be worried about a speeding ticket?  Abrim Tilmon an original member of the Emeralds, and writer of the A side of this 45, died of a heart attack in 1982 aged just 37. Now that is really not fair.  

The break at the beginning of “smart” has, apparently, been a favourite with the hip-hoppers over the years – Common, Nas, DJ Krush to name just three.

Detroit Emeralds – You’re Getting A Little Too Smart  1973

The B side is just as good (and was an A side in its own right in the USA, I believe), except perhaps for the slightly incongruous rock-esque guitar break.

Detroit Emeralds – Lee  1973

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jazz J....

I've been away all week so once again nothing wordy here.

About 25 years ago I bought a great Street Sounds compilation "Jazz Juice" (which I still have of course). A couple of weeks ago I finally picked up "Jazz Juice 2", which contains an equally fine collection of jazzy grooves. These were early examples of Gilles Peterson's curating skills.   

There were eventually at least eight of these compilations I think. At this rate of buying I may one day enjoy listening to number 3 but if, by some miracle, I buy number 4 I will probably not be able to hear it!      

Jon Hendricks - I'll Bet You Thought I'd Never Find You  1975

Oscar Brown Jr. - Dat Dere  1966

Friday, September 10, 2010


We have friends coming around tonight.

It’s warm, we can be out in the garden.

Looks like rain, we could retire to the conservatory.

Heavy rain. Too noisy on the roof, looks like the lounge then.

Better have some lounge music, and some virtual sunshine.

Very happy to pick this one up in a local chazza today for 50p.

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Laia Ladaia (Reza)  1968
Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Scarborough Fair  1968 

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Still scratching

In my ever more obsessive search for lost soul gold dust I am sometimes guilty of overlooking the obvious. Tavares are a case in point. I loved their hits – e.g. “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel”, “It Only Takes A Minute” – but that was the problem: I knew the hits, thought that was all there was, and passed them by. Then, recently, I stumbled across Mrs Darce’s old cassette of their album “Hard Core Poetry” and that woke me up. Now I’m always on the look out for Tavares records.  

Following on from my previous post that talked about scratched records that sounded OK from the same haul here is the record that looked the mintiest of the bunch but in fact sounds pretty beat up.

I won’t expose you to the pops and clicks but instead point you to Youtube for two of the four tracks on this EP. (Squeezing four tracks on a 7” is probably not a good idea and is partly why the sound quality suffered, I guess).  

Friday, September 03, 2010

Scratching my itch

Last weekend was of the Bank Holiday variety here in Blighty. That meant extra opportunity to hit the car boot sales. Yippee!  
It didn’t start well. A Saturday visit yielded precisely nothing. The field in question was as packed with sellers as I had ever seen it, but there was very little vinyl – just a load of junk (ha ha). I thought I would be pushing my luck (with Mrs Darce) to “boot it” three days running so I gave Sunday a miss. That left Monday, where I managed to fit in two fairs, this time with some success.

The first venue is one of my favourites. For starters, at the risk of sounding a snob, it seems to be frequented by a better class of seller, and browser. As a result the whole air of the proceedings seems to be more relaxed, almost tranquil. So if pickings are thin it doesn’t really matter because I can treat it as a pleasant early morning stroll in the country – and there are some great countryside views to be enjoyed.
That’s all very well but what about the vinyl?, you say. Well, I didn’t come away empty handed – first there were four singles for 20p each (including Tina Harvey’s take on “Nowhere To Run”! but sporting lots of scuffs), then four albums for 10p each from a charming old couple bought solely for the young ladies on the covers demonstrating various levels of saucery (at the top end of which was Silver Convention’s “Discotheque Vol. II”, I’ll let you google it). I was informed the records would be going to the rubbish tip imminently and I couldn’t bear the thought of that – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! (But, ahem, these purchases do mean I’m going to have to find a bigger case for my collection of “girls”). Finally I parted with a whole £2 on another very scuffy looking piece of vinyl – Otis Redding “In Person At The Whisky A Go Go”. It was the beautiful original plum and orange Atlantic label that made me buy it. Almost plum, orange and red as it happened. I was commenting on the scratched state of the records we were looking at to a fellow digger standing next to me when I noticed blood on my hand. The records are so scratched they’ve scratched me, I thought. Then I realised the fellow digger had developed a nose bleed and there was blood dripping everywhere! “I never have nose bleeds, it must have been that five pound note I just took out of my wallet*”, he said. That made me chuckle. (*he had just bought a Tygers of Pan Tang album, remember them?).

Not a bad start to the day, but I wasn’t getting carried away as the records I bought to actually listen to were all in less than pristine condition, and the needle was yet to give its verdict.

Onward I went to the next fair, which was at the same venue that I had visited on the Saturday. It couldn’t be that bad again, surely? But after a fruitless hour+ it looked like it was.The only record I found worthy of note had been James Brown “Night Train” on UK Sue, but it was sleeveless and looked pretty beat up so I passed.  
I had decided to call it a day and was heading back to the car by backtracking down a couple of rows I had already visited. It was then I spied a few boxes of records I must have missed earlier. OK, I said to myself, one last dig and delve. And I’m glad I did because I found not one but two reggae nuggets (and a copy of Adam & The Ants’ “Prince Charming” album with gatefold cover which was in such stunning condition I had to buy it too!).

The first of the reggae finds was an album “Original Reggae Greats Vol II”. This was a budget LP on the Hallmark/Pickwick label dating to around 1974 full of tracks leased from Trojan. That and the Adam & The Ants LP set me back a whole 50p each. I also found a single by The Creations on the Amalgamated Records label. I had never heard of either of them but noticed J.A. Gibson (Joe Gibbs) and Jamaica in the credits – it must be reggae, I’ll have that, I thought! But again it looked scuffy and had a ominous looking scratch right across one side. I pointed this out and effectively got it for nothing. Now I was satisfied and happily called it a day.

So what did these scuffed up scratchy old records sound like when I dropped the needle on them? I was amazed. The Otis Redding album plays through without any noticeable surface noise, Tina Harvey is almost as good and The Creations side with the horrible scratch on it you can hear here. I think you will agree the scratch is, in fact, nowhere to be heard. All three are testament to the quality of British vinyl back in the day and also all represent serious bargains. Result! (Now I wish I had also picked up the James Brown Sue 45).  

Bob & Marcia’s “I Don’t Care” is side 2 track 1 on the Reggae compilation album. Listen to the strings (yes, strings) on this track, they are to die for.

Bob & Marcia – I Don’t Care  1972

The Creations’ 45 is probably my find of the year. Reggae vinyl rarely turns up, and when it does it is usually in pretty bad shape. Reggae is a catch-all term really, this 45 dates from 1968 and should more precisely be described as rocksteady. Just as I have backtracked into the 60s to fuel my passion for Soul music so I realise I need to be more serious about doing the same for reggae/rocksteady/ska. As I said, I was not familiar with Joe Gibbs’ Amalgamated Records, but just look at all the releases this little label made in 1968.      

The Creations – Holding Out  1968

“Get On Up” is on the other side this Creations 45. You can find it on “Get On Up” an excellent looking compilation of Joe Gibbs produced rocksteady from 1967-68.